A measuring mistake at a Mississippi marathon puts runners short of qualifying for the Boston Marathon

Runners who completed the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon last weekend in hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon will have to go to Louisiana and do it all over again due to a measurement error that fell just short of the 26.2-mile qualifying distance.
The Sun-Herald reports that marathon director Jonathan Dziuba says a “measurement mishap” along Interstate 110 means runners only completed 25.905 miles.
 
Here’s the Sun-Herald’s rundown of what happened:

  • Runners made complaints Sunday that the course was not 26.2 miles. By Monday, they were submitting Strava and Garmin data to Dziuba to show that the race was short.
  • At first, runners were getting a standard response to distance discrepancies related to satellite data, for Dziuba personally measured the course set for certification, and turnarounds were marked to his exact specifications, he said.
  • The error occurred when Dziuba instructed the person measuring and setting the turnarounds on Interstate 110 to set turnaround point at the second interstate truss mark. Runners should have, in fact, turned around at the third truss mark.

Dziuba emailed the runners to apologize for the error. Runners who would have qualified are being given free entry in the upcoming Louisiana Marathon free of charge to aim for Boston once more.
“It was my absent-mindedness that led to communicating to that person the incorrect instructions,” Dziuba said in the email. “I am deeply sorry for this series of events. I’m sorry that I didn’t recognize it earlier and that our responses have not been on point due to that. I always trust my staff and my people and they confirmed they did exactly as instructed. It wasn’t until later that I realized my instructions were wrong.”
 

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